The UFO Shot Down Over Canada Might've Been Property of the 'Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade.' If So, They're Out 13 Bucks.

It's been quite a couple of weeks in the history of life on Earth. We've witnessed nothing less a world-changing event than actual armed confrontation between the human species and object that may likely come from an exoplanet from a distant solar system. Clearly, the 4.5 billion years since the Earth was formed have led us to this monumental--

Hold on. I'm ... I'm just getting word that one of the objects shot down by our armed forces may belong to some hobby nerds:

Source - A small, globe-trotting balloon declared “missing in action” by an Illinois-based hobbyist club on Feb. 15 has emerged as a candidate to explain one of the three mystery objects shot down by four heat-seeking missiles launched by U.S. Air Force fighters since Feb. 10. 

The club—the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB)—is not pointing fingers yet. 

But the circumstantial evidence is at least intriguing. The club’s silver-coated, party-style, “pico balloon” reported its last position on Feb. 10 at 38,910 ft. off the west coast of Alaska, and a popular forecasting tool—the HYSPLIT model provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—projected the cylindrically shaped object would be floating high over the central part of the Yukon Territory on Feb. 11. That is the same day a Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same general area.

There are suspicions among other prominent members of the small, pico-ballooning enthusiasts’ community, which combines ham radio and high-altitude ballooning into a single, relatively affordable hobby.

“I tried contacting our military and the FBI—and just got the runaround—to try to enlighten them on what a lot of these things probably are. And they’re going to look not too intelligent to be shooting them down,” says Ron Meadows, the founder of Scientific Balloon Solutions (SBS), a Silicon Valley company that makes purpose-built pico balloons for hobbyists, educators and scientists.

The descriptions of all three unidentified objects shot down Feb. 10-12 match the shapes, altitudes and payloads of the small pico balloons, which can usually be purchased for $12-180 each, depending on the type.

“I’m guessing probably they were pico balloons,” said Tom Medlin, a retired FedEx engineer and co-host of the Amateur Radio Roundtable show. Medlin has three pico balloons in flight in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Please allow me to clarify something I said earlier. When I referred to the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade as "nerds," I didn't mean that as a pejorative, by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not here to disparage the pico-ballooning enthusiasts' community, or ham radio operators and high-altitude balloonists in particular. My sons were more model rocket types when they were little, but still I use "nerd" as a term of respect and endearment. I know how ugly these things can get, and don't want to make trouble with the NIBBB or any group of like-minded hobbyists. So please spare me your angry emails. 

With that out of the way, wouldn't this be the best possible outcome? Assuming it's true? Sure, you can take issue with the military response being a little ...  oh let's just call it, a bit of an overreaction. According to what I've read, an F-22 costs $140 million, they cost $80,000 an hour to fly, and the Sidewinder missile that took out whatever this was costs $400,000, or the price of a decent Cape house on the South Shore of Boston. And all that might have been brought to bear on something a school club bought for the cost of a movie ticket so they could track weather patterns. 

But still, better safe than sorry. Given the choice, it's better to be too alert to danger than not alert enough. The same people who are pointing fingers of blame over this would be the ones screaming the loudest if that object came to the Yukon with hostile intent. If that unidentified object started taking out all the bears and caribou up there, they'd demand to know why we had F-22s just sitting in hangers with missiles strapped to their wings collecting dust instead of being scrambled. It's like we're damned if we do shoot down hobbyist balloons, and we're damned if we don't. 

Again, all this assumes this speculation is correct and all we did was mess up the NIBBB's science project, at a huge cost to the taxpayers. And that sounds exactly like the sort of psyop the government might pull in order to hide the truth, that we've still got a potentially enormous threat operating in the skies over Alaska and western Canada. We may never know. 

All I do know, is that if this UFO did, in fact, belong to the NIBBB and we shot it down because we thought it was a threat from China, it's exactly the plot of "99 Red Balloons." 

Either way, Nena was way ahead of her time. "Everyone's a superhero. Everyone's a Captain Kirk." So, so true. And I'm sure she's got another hit in her after this.